Toomey-Bristowe Residence

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Albemarle County, Virginia

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DESIGN CONCEPT
This rambling contemporary home is actually two dwellings linked together by long accent walls that slice through the house in several directions.  Large floor-to-ceiling windows abut these accent walls wherever they extend from inside to outside, creating the appearance that they continue uninterrupted throughout the house and disappear into the heavily wooded landscape beyond.  These walls are clad in a horizontal wood siding on their exterior surfaces and in a similar, but more finished, material on the inside of the house.  The rest of the house is clad in warm-colored stucco that contrasts with the finish of the wood wall as well as with the greenery which surrounds the building.  The geometry of the house consists of various-sized box-like forms topped by shed roofs which lean onto the accent walls or glide over them.  Large floor-to-ceiling windows abut these accent walls wherever they extend from inside to outside creating the appearance that they continue uninterrupted throughout the house and site.  Connecting the two dwellings is a large high-ceilinged indoor pool space which utilizes French doors and many windows to bring the outdoors inside. 

The eastern dwelling unit consists of a central combination library/dining room, surrounded by wall-to-wall shelves and topped by a heavily beamed ceiling.  This mass is clad in the siding to match the accent walls and rises taller than most of the adjacent house emphasizing its importance.  Tall sliding wooden doors on metal tracks close this room off when privacy is desired.  A staircase then leads down to a small lower level with a guest room and media room. This staircase separates this mass from the main accent wall and a skylight over the stair allows light to filter into both the stair and the library/dining room.  One side of the entry is terminated by a small study and powder room and the other accesses the long galley kitchen through an opening in the primary accent wall.  The kitchen is complimented by the breakfast room and a large service pantry with access to the back deck for outdoor dining and entertaining.  The master bedroom and bath both have ample glass and are connected by an opening in the main accent wall.  This level is completed by a laundry room and oversized one-car garage.

The western dwelling unit is an open floor plan with its entry leading into a large living/dining/kitchen combination.  This space has a sweeping vaulted ceiling that slopes up to the primary accent wall which is punctured by openings both on the main level as well as the upper guest loft overlooking the main room.  The accent wall separates the public and private portions of the unit.  The master bedroom is a long, beamed room which is large enough to accommodate both the bed and a small private living space.  Built-in shelving corresponds to the bays created by the ceiling beams and is topped by clerestory windows to bring light in while maintaining a sense of privacy.  The bathroom abuts an adjacent accent wall.